The United States of American are ‘controlled’ by a ‘democratic’ federal government, which provides equal opportunity to every citizen to be involved in the selection of the right candidate to serve them in the public office. Yet, six in ten American citizens believe that racism is a serious problem and the white supremacy is taking over since the Presidency of Donald Trump, while 88 percent of the black population think that their race still requires equal rights in all fields and professions (CNN, n.d.).
Fascism has been around for the American public since for a long time but existing in the shadows of super-patriotism and extremist Americans who show love for their country in the most immoral and unethical ways. Even though for the United States, fascism is a foreign ideology that they can criticize and restore their faith in the basic fundamentals of democracy existing in the United States; fascism has been there since the very beginning of the exploration of American soils.
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, a lot of new terms were introduced and old concepts were ignited, such as the hate against the black community, calling Mexican American’s “rapists” and members of drug cartels, and considering every woman in a scarf and every man practicing his faith a Muslim terrorist. The American public has always been familiar with this kind of racism and superiority of the white Americans, but the situation has never been worse and fascism might make a turn into the democratic government or exist prominently, yet ignored by the majority of the people.
While the United States are far more developed and educated with a diverse population that welcomes people from around the globe, the new wave of racism, hate against the minority group and the significance of National Security and the military is a threat to the government.
What is Fascism?
Fascism can be defined in several terms, one of them being political actions and a type of political philosophy that requires nationalism at all costs and giving power to one group that dominates the rest of the population and is treated unequally. It destroys democracy and the basic equal rights of every citizen. The power can be given to any entity such as the military or businessmen, the rich class or a dictator. Fascism is a mass movement that involves an ideology of extreme patriotism, racism, and hate against other minority groups and a superiority complex.
The term fascism has always been associated with Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler and the people who came into power after World War I. The ideology requires allegiances to a leader or a master group or race and the nation on the whole. The main purpose of fascism lies in the success and development of a nation with complete dedication and patriotism. Such as the theory of “making America great again”, which requires sticking to traditional ways and taking the country back to the time of racism and inequality with white Americans being the master race.
History of Fascism
Fascism can be dated back to the late 19th century when the theme of ‘fin de siècle’ was on a rise. It was a revolt against materialism, rationalism and the democracy. Fascism has always been rejecting a liberal society that allowed democratic government and the imperfections that could destroy it.
The theory of fascism came in the shape of “organizing the minority” in the work of Gaetano Mosca during 1896. The idea proposed one minority has the governor while the other disorganized minority to be directed and guided under the leadership of the organized minority. On the other hand, Mikhail Bakunin introduced the propaganda of deed which emphasized upon direct action as the key to politics, including violence. The idea was soon adopted by many fascists who believed in the concept. Similarly, French nationalist rejected the idea of democracy which the believed disturbed the process of national development.
However, Fascism reached its peak during and after the World War I. The Italians split into two parties regarding the stance of the war against Germany and Austria-Hungry, while the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was developed. This lead to the introduction of the term “fascism” which was viewed as an effective ideology to fix a nation and guide them towards success and perfection (Payne, S. G. 1996).
The practice of fascism was adopted by the Germans as well and soon there was a rise of “National Socialism” which lied in the core German values of discipline, duty, law, and order. The theme of National Socialism, introduced by Johann Plenge, rejected the ideas of 1789 which included democracy, equal rights for men and liberalism.
Fascists considered the War as an attempt of bringing revolutionary changes to the nations for improved society, way of living and advanced technology. They believed in giving importance to the military as they were fighting on the front lines while other citizens managed the economic conditions.
After the Great Depression and the journey towards World War II, Germany was under the fascist leadership of Adolf Hitler who formed Nazi Germany and believed in perfection and success of the German nation through supremacy of the master group. The new German policies rejected people with disabilities, minority groups and persecuted Jews that interfered in the process of development and success of the nation. Liberalism had completely demolished during the 1930s.
Common Concepts of Fascism
The aftermath of World War I included militarization of several countries due to the harsh and unpredictable natures and the importance of a defense against the hostile nations. Countries like Germany and Italy sensed major threats from other nations which required them to shift their entire focus on the military. The military is disciplined and follows perfection which is the core purpose of fascism.
The United States of America has been involved in several wars since decades such as the war against terrorism in Syria and Iraq, while the continuous cold war with Russia and the unstable situations with North Koreas has been on a rise. The country is facing threat from every part of the world, which requires them to strengthen their military and spend billions of dollars on defense and national security.
The ideology of fascism disapproves liberalism and democracy. It encourages a type of government where a power group which is either a master race or entity that controls and represents the whole nation. In this type of social structure, the citizens are not treated equally or provided complete freedom but are protected by the law.
The new policies of United States of America pose a similar trait considering the Muslim ban, rejection of the free press and media, attacking the jurisdiction and disapproving of the State Department. These are the signs of transformation into a fascist government that is taking charge of the people and their freedom, and snatching equal rights.
One leader that leads the whole nation to development, perfection, and growth is an idea strongly supported by fascism. This idea is inspired by an organized society with unparalleled national unity. In this type of social structure, the nation is able to respond easily to economic measures and political instability such as a war or attack from rival countries. However, dictatorship vanishes democracy and the freedom of the press and possibly equal rights for people. The choices of the dictator might not always be the best and these aren’t in control of the citizens of that nation.
America might be far from dictatorship but the powers of a president are not any less than a dictator, even though the American president goes through the process of an election by the citizens regardless of their race or religion. However, the new presidential policies and disapproval of the democratic rules and regulations are a threat of dictatorship existing in the shadows, which is too hard to be recognized by the general public.
Characteristics of Fascism
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Nationalism refers to patriotic feeling and considering your nation superior to other countries and nations. It focuses on promoting the interests of the country and working towards the specific goals that ensure success and development. Such patriotism is often portrayed through national slogans, mottos, combined with national patriotic songs, public displays of the national flag on clothing and other equipment.
This kind of nationalism is common in the United States because of the superiority complex existing among white Americans about their ethnicity and the illiteracy of the white rural population who isn’t aware of the American history and their background. They consider themselves as the best nation in the world compared to their rivals such as China, Mexico, Russia and many others. U.S. citizens have always marked their patriotism as the “American Dream” and made decisions according to their love for the country.
On the other hand, Nationalism is leading towards a violent and racist behavior towards minority groups and immigrant who lives in the United States. They are considered to be intruders trying to steal their jobs and corrupt their society. Their conservative behavior towards African-Americans, Mexican Americans, and Muslim Americans is excused for extreme patriotism while it is clearly a fascist attitude. The situation seems to be ignited after the elections of 2016 when the concept of fascism was discussed more than ever and the hatred among fellow Americans was on the rise (Steigmann-Gall, R. 2017).
Supremacy of the Military
Importance of a powerful and effective military is realized by countries when in the state of war and face threats from nearby nations. Fascism strongly supports the idea of militaristic approach towards the development and success of a country. It requires giving powers to the military and allocating most of its funding to the defense of the country as there are always threats from rival countries.
The need for a strong military force becomes a necessity for the fascist government due to its overall structure. There is always a threat to the national security of the country which is why the military becomes superior to other priorities of the country which can be damaging to the economy and growth of the nation.
America’s political situation and instability in foreign relationships with North Korea, Cold War with Russia and the interference in the middles-east in fighting ISIS, are all a threat to the national security of the country. Therefore, America has always prepared for a Nuclear War and able to recognize the importance of care to be taken during emergency situations. The United States spends billions of dollars on the military and its weapons and equipment required for militants to survive. Additionally, it is introducing new technology to war-zones if they are ever implemented.
The fascist theory encourages global military supremacy, which the United States is moving towards due to its constant efforts in different war zones and fighting its fight for years now.
Controlled Mass Media
Fascism supports the restrictions on mass media and how people think about the government and the country. Freedom of the media results in a negative image of the government portrayed in the mass and the reality of political readers to be disclosed to the public. There are possible chances that the media is directly and completely controlled by the government, which meant that they could restrict all kinds of content through censorship.
However, now the government is more or less involved in controlling what the people think and how they see the government doing their jobs. The restrictions on media content are increased during sensitive times or national emergency i.e. during wartime or threat of natural hazards to avoid panic.
The government of the United States of America has always been more or less involved in controlling the mass media and restricting the content that you see, hear or read. The new concept of “fake news” has been circulating around more than ever since the 2016 elections. This is because the presidential campaign denies anything disclosed by news agencies. Contrasting such a thought in the minds of people of America is minimizing their trust on the media; hence, the government is indirectly involved in controlling what you think and believe. Such attitude towards the media is a sign of fascism and disapproval of democracy, freedom of speech and liberalism.
Fascism as a Left Wing or Right Wing
Republicans Say Fascism is a Left-Wing Problem
The left wing supports liberalism and democracy. The Democrats believe that the government is a barrier to the prosperity of the nation which is created by the free market and allowance of the public opinion in every political activity. The left wing supports income equality, which means it encourages taxation that is charged based on the income levels of an individual so that higher taxes are charged large firms and wealthy individuals. It also believes that the government should be able to provide quality healthcare to every citizen, education and equal rights.
The ideology of fascism contradicts with the social democracy, communism, and liberalism of the left-wing politics. Hence, it is an obstacle in the way of development and equal rights in the country.
Democrats Say Fascism Is a Right Wing Problem
The political ideology of the right wing believes in conservatism and the importance of the government. It encourages the thought that every citizen and individual belongs to the state and the federal government. Republicans seek an economic policy of lower taxes and fewer business regulations in order to achieve development and prosperity as it lies in the hands of free individuals.
Additionally, it encourages the private firms to compete in services like healthcare, education and financial departments. This theory encourages Capitalism and conservatism in the society which means that the poorer become poorer and the rich and powerful group becomes ever stronger.
Hence, fascism supports the ideology of the power being with the master group or race. It becomes a problem for the democratic belief in the left wing politics (Wodak, R., & Krzyżanowski, M. 2017).
It is concluded that even though the politics and the ideologies of the United States are far from fascism, the recent activities, political changes and the beliefs of the majority of the public is a threat to a true democracy in the states. The characteristics and concepts of fascism strongly relate to the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.
A new wave of racism and threats to the national security from rival nations is causing the country to adopt strict policies and measure giving importance to national defense and supremacy of the military. Thus, the United States may not be completely immune to the ideology of fascism and the roots of the theory are not foreign to the nation.
Wodak, R., & Krzyżanowski, M. (2017). Right-wing populism in Europe & USA. Journal of Language and Politics, 16(4), 471-484.
Steigmann-Gall, R. (2017). Star-spangled fascism: American interwar political extremism in comparative perspective. Social History, 42(1), 94-119.
Payne, S. G. (1996). A history of fascism, 1914–1945. University of Wisconsin Press.
CNN, R. S. (n.d.). Blacks and whites see racism in the United States very, very differently. Retrieved March 14, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/politics/blacks-white-racism-united-states-polls/index.html